|Thornton Township High School|
15001 S. Broadway
|School type||Public high school|
|School district||Thornton Twp. HS 205|
|Superintendent||Nathaniel Cunningham Jr.|
|Assistant Principal||Wanda Russell|
|Teaching staff||137 (on an FTE basis)|
|Student to teacher ratio||12.69|
|Color(s)|| Purple |
|Athletics conference||Southland Athletic Conference|
|Rival||Bloom Township High School Kankakee High School|
|Communities served||Harvey, South Holland, Phoenix, Riverdale, Dixmoor, Markham, Blue Island|
Thornton Township High School, often simply referred to as Thornton is a public high school founded in 1899, located in Harvey, one of the South Suburbs of the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA. The school is one of three administered by Thornton Township High Schools District 205. It is occasionally confused with the two other similarly named schools in the district, Thornridge High School and Thornwood High School.
A predominantly African American and Hispanic high school, Thornton is best known for its alumni who have been successful in both the Performing Arts and athletics.
The site for Thornton Township High School was decided by a special election on May 28, 1898, where Harvey was selected over Dolton by a 1,504 to 1,123 vote, with the estimate of the school's cost being $40,000.Oscar L. Murray was the architect of the building whose cost by October 1898 was $35,000, and was planned that included physical and biological laboratories, a library, gymnasium, a 280-seat assembly room, and bicycle/lunch rooms.
By May 1899, the plans had been firmed up to include a two-story structure with basement, with an interior to be finished in red oak. Heat would be provided by steam, with electric fans and an automated clock and signal system. The main floor assembly room was expanded to seat 700. Construction was set to begin in June, with completion in October.The original building was located at 154th Street and Columbia Avenue.
In 1913, Thornton was one of nine schools, and the only south suburban school, invited to found what became the Suburban League, which mostly consisted of schools like Thornton which had formerly been members of the Cook County High School League.
In 1928, 16-year-old Betty Robinson (between her Junior and Senior years at Thornton) not only won the very first Olympic gold medal awarded to a woman in the 100 meters (at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam), but set a world record which stood until 1932.
During World War II, like many high schools, Thornton made changes to accommodate the war effort. Evening classes for adults started in 1942 to begin training people for necessary war jobs.By 1943, the school was open for 87 hours each week, and had been converted almost exclusively to wartime training.
Additions were made to the building in 1912 (costing $140,000), 1927 ($345,000) and 1937 ($300,000).A third floor was added in 1948. In 1949, a new physical education facility was added, including a natatorium, wrestling rooms, locker facilities and classrooms for health classes, in addition to two gymnasia, one of which could seat 3,500 for basketball games. The new gymnasium was dedicated in April 1950.
Thornton's sports teams, which are referred to as the Wildcats, compete in the Southland Athletic Conference, though for many years competed in the now defunct South Inter-Conference Association (SICA). The teams also compete in state championship series sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The school colors are purple and white.
The school sponsors interscholastic athletic teams for boys and girls in basketball, soccer, track and field and cross country. Boys may also compete in baseball, American football, swimming and diving and wrestling. Girls may compete in cheerleading, softball and volleyball.
The following athletic teams have won their respective IHSA sponsored state tournament:
Thornton is known for its illustrious Speech team. The following groups advanced to the IHSA State Finals competition, sponsored by the IHSA, and were crowned champions.
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The curious thing about Thornton is that, despite the decades of tradition and legacy of great coaches and athletes ... any other athletic facility is named in honor of any of them...Lou Boudreau, Jack Lipe, Tiny Huddlestun, Betty Robinson ... There is a copy of Boudreau's plaque that hangs in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and Betty Robinson's gold medal from the 1924 Olympics ... In May 2010, the school added a Thornton Wall of Fame in the main building that honors some of the great athletes and student leaders of the past—Boudreau, Robinson, comedian Tom Dreesen, actors Bill Hayes, Michael Boatman and Melvin Van Peebles, industrialist Dan Ustian and athletes Tai Streets, Melvin Ely, Napoleon Harris and Antwaan Randle El.[ permanent dead link ]
Once described as a cross between Laurie Anderson and Little Richard, Ms. Vance appeared in feature films and in 1985 became the first black woman to join the regular cast of "Saturday Night Live," where she stayed for a year ... At Thornton High School, she auditioned for a play but failed to win a part. Nonetheless, she got up during the performance and acted anyway and became the star of the show ...
Steven Whitehurst was born into a single-parent family in Chicago on March 3, 1967. After spending his early years living in housing projects on the city's southside, his family moved to Harvey, Illinois. In Harvey, Steven graduated from Thornton Township High School in 1984.